Iain McLachlan and Julie South talk about:

the veterinarian shortage,

the nursing shortage,

why the NZ VC doesn’t include two of the world’s top 10 veterinary science universities in its List of Recognised Institutions,

when is it (NZVC) going to update that list of Recognised Institutions,

what clinics can do if they absolutely cannot manage their after-hours obligations, and

what “Limited Registration” means.

VetStaff Annual Veterinary Sector State of the Nation Survey 2022

In April 2022, VetStaff conducted its Annual Veterinary Sector State of the Nation Survey –  the results are interesting.

For example:

  • one third of the respondents said they weren’t earning enough to live on and were going backwards financially,
  • one third said they were earning just enough to live on, but not enough to contribute to a rainy day savings account, and
  • one third were earning enough and were able to contribute to a rainy day savings account.

Now, when you hear those numbers it’s pretty easy to think that given two thirds of the respondents were going backwards financially or were earning just enough to survive, that the mix of respondents must have been two-thirds vet nurses and one third vets.

After all, it’s no secret that nurses’ pay rates really do need some serious increases beyond just the CPI.

However, that wasn’t the makeup of respondents at all.   In fact, the split of vets and nurses came in exactly equal with:

  • 42.7% of the respondents were veterinarians and
  • 42.7% were veterinary nurses. 

The balance of just under 15% was made up of admin staff – like PMs and HR managers as well as veterinary technicians.

I haven’t crunched the numbers that deep, but it’s kinda fair to surmise that there are some vets who aren’t earning enough to contribute to their rainy day emergency fund.

New Zealand Veterinary Council not responsible for pay rates

The Vet Council cannot control pay rates – that’s not its function.  

Yet I was surprised by the number of respondents who somehow thought that was a power the Council had.   I asked lots of other questions of Iain that came from the survey, but I didn’t raise the question of pay rates because it’s beyond his and the Council’s control. 

CEO & Registrar – NZ Vet Council

Iain McLachlan is the CEO & Registrar of the New Zealand Veterinary Council. 

He’s responsible for leading and managing the Council as well as carrying out the functions of the Registrar, as set out in the Veterinarians Act 2005.

Iain McLachlan

CEO & Registrar

New Zealand Veterinary Council

The New Zealand Veterinary Council is NZ vet sector’s governing body.  It’s responsible for the governance of the organisation and, ultimately, for making sure functions per the Veterinarians Act are carried out and adhered to.

The Council has a team of eight staff and seven council members.

The eight staff are led by Iain as CEO and Registrar.   He’s supported by Veterinarian Dr Seton Butler – the Council’s professional adviser.

Iain and his team report to the Council’s seven Council members. 

NZVC Council

Three of the Council members are elected by veterinarians, two are lay people appointed by the Minister of Agriculture – currently Damien O’Connor, MP, one member is a veterinarian also appointed by the Minister and the seventh member is the Academic Programme Director of the undergraduate veterinary programme at Massey University.

Iain reports to a collective team of brains, experience and credibility.

Dr Lindsay Burton

Dr Lindsay Burton is the ministerial-appointed veterinarian and Chair.   He was appointed in May 2015 and has been Chair since March 2019.   His background includes being a mixed animal veterinarian after he graduated from Massey.  He’s also been part of the NZ Dairy Board and Livestock Improvement Corporation as well as other consortiums and forums.  He’s a science-based decision-maker and a member of the Council’s Professional Standards Committee and the Finance and Risk Committee.

Dr Ben Davidson

Dr Ben Davidson is an elected veterinary member and Deputy Chair.  Dr Davidson was elected in 2016 and has been Deputy Chair since 2019.  He’s previously served on the Council’s Complaints Assessment Committee.  Today’ he’s Chair of Finance and Risk.

Dr Rachel Gebbie

Dr Rachel Gebbie is an elected veterinary member.  Dr Gebbie was elected to the Council in 2016 and is Chair of the Professional Standards Committee.

Dr Julie Everett-Hincks

Dr Julie Everett-Hincks is the ministerial non-veterinary appointee.  She has a PhD in animal science and worked as a senior scientist at Ag Research before completing her law degree.   Julie’s a member of the professional standards committee of the Council.

Mr Zach Mounsey

Mr Zach Mounsey is the ministerial non-veterinary appointee.  Zach is a member of the Finance and Risk Committee.

Dr Jenny Weston

Dr Jenny Weston is the Academic Programme Director of the undergraduate veterinary programme at Massey University.

Dr Sarah Bagheri

Dr Sarah Bagheri is an elected veterinary member.   A mixed practice vet, she graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2006 and was elected to the Council in 2019.

That’s a pretty impressive line up of people to report to. 

Mr Iain McLachlan

Mr Iain McLachlan is a practising lawyer – that means he holds a practising certificate from the NZ Law Society and has been admitted to the bar as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.  Just like it’s an offence for someone to call themselves Veterinarian when they don’t hold a practising certificate, so too is it an offence to call yourself a practising lawyer when you don’t hold a practising certificate.  

As a practising lawyer, Iain gives legal advice to the Council.

Before joining VCNZ, Iain’s worked in professional regulation in New Zealand and the UK and in private practice.

He’s a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington where he studied his Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration. 

Iain’s also completed the Te Pōkaitahi Reo (Reo Rua) (Te Kaupae 4) programme with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.  If you’re wondering what that is, it’s an intermediate reo Māori course, intended for learners who already understand and use te reo at an advanced-intermediate level.   


New Zealand Veterinary Council

+64 4 473 9600


Veterinarians Act 2005

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